The VMware Tools service starts when the guest operating system starts. The service passes information between host and guest operating systems.

This program runs in the background, and is called vmtoolsd.exe on Windows guest operating systems, vmware-tools-daemon on Mac OS X guest operating systems, and vmtoolsd on Linux, FreeBSD, and Solaris guest operating systems. The VMware Tools service performs the following tasks:

  • Performs virtual machine power operations gracefully.
  • Runs VMware provided or user configured scripts in guest operating systems during various power operations.
  • Runs programs, commands, and file-system operations in guest operating system to enhance guest automation.
  • Authenticates guest user operations.
  • Collects network, disk, and memory usage information from the guest periodically.
  • Generates heartbeats from guest operating system to hosts so that VMware High Availability can determine availability of guest operating systems.
  • Synchronizes clocks between guest operating system and hosts or client desktops.
  • Quiesces guest file systems so that host can capture file-system-consistent guest snapshots.
  • Executes pre-freeze-script.bat and post-thaw-script.bat while quiescing guest file systems.
  • Customizes guest operating systems immediately after powering on virtual machines.
  • Enables Shared Folders between host and guest file systems on VMware Workstation and VMware Fusion.
  • Enables copying and pasting of text, graphics, and files between guest operating systems and hosts or client desktops.